Value And Concept

Understand The Value And Concept Of Goodwill In Accounting

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Understand The Value And Concept Of Goodwill In Accounting

Goodwill is a concept often referenced in accounting, but its meaning may be unclear to non-accounting professionals. What exactly is goodwill in accounting, and how does it impact businesses? 

What is Goodwill in Accounting

In this article, we will explore the definition of goodwill, how it affects financial statements, and what it means for organisations. We will also discuss the different types of goodwill and when they should be applied.

Understanding Goodwill

Goodwill is a term you might have heard in the accounting world several times. But do you know what goodwill means? In accounting terms, goodwill can be defined as an intangible asset representing the value of a company’s reputation, customer base, brand identity, and other non-physical assets.

Goodwill can be created when one company acquires another for more than its book value or net worth.

As per accounting standards, goodwill is recorded on a company’s balance sheet as an intangible asset when it acquires another business for an amount greater than the fair market value of its assets and liabilities. In simple terms, it’s the difference between what was paid to acquire a business versus how much it is worth on paper.

Goodwill vs Other Intangibles

While goodwill is an important part of many companies‘ balance sheets, it is just one type of intangible asset. Other examples include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Unlike goodwill, these other intangibles can be valued using specific accounting methods and sold or licensed separately from the rest of a company’s operations.

When it comes to accounting for intangible assets like goodwill, specific rules must be followed. Companies must regularly assess the value of their goodwill and determine whether any impairment has occurred.

The Types Of Goodwill

The concept of goodwill is based on the idea that customers will pay more for products or services provided by companies with good reputations.

There are two main types of goodwill: purchased goodwill and inherent goodwill.

Purchased goodwill arises when one company acquires another company for more than its fair market value. The difference between the purchase price and fair market value is recorded as purchased goodwill on the balance sheet. Conversely, inherent goodwill arises from factors such as customer loyalty, brand recognition, and intellectual property rights.

Accounting For Goodwill

Goodwill can be difficult to calculate, but it’s essential for businesses looking to assess their value. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to compute goodwill.

First, determine the purchase price of the business you’re valuing. This includes any additional fees associated with buying the company, such as legal or accounting fees.

Next, calculate the fair market value of all the business’s tangible assets. These include real estate property, equipment and machinery.

To determine goodwill value for each quarter or year, accountants use several different valuation methods such as the Intangible asset valuation method; Income approach; Market approach; Replacement cost approach; Residual method; Cost Approach.

Then, subtract the fair market value of all tangible assets from the purchase price of the business to get your total intangible asset value or goodwill. Remember that any liabilities should be deducted from this amount before being included on balance sheets.

Journal Entries

Accounting for goodwill requires proper journal entries to ensure accurate financial reporting.

One way to account for goodwill is through the acquisition method, which involves recording the acquired company’s assets at their fair market values and subtracting their liabilities from this amount. Any excess amount paid over this value is recorded as goodwill on the acquiring company’s balance sheet. The journal entry for recording goodwill involves debiting the goodwill account and crediting cash or accounts payable.

Goodwill £000

Cash/Accounts Payable £000

Another method of accounting for goodwill is through impairment testing, which involves comparing the book value of goodwill with its implied fair market value.


For example, a company purchases another business for $10 million. The acquired business has assets worth $5 million and liabilities worth $3 million on its balance sheet. In this case, the goodwill would be calculated as follows: 

Acquisition cost ($10 million) – Net book value ($2 million) = Goodwill ($8 million)

However, problems may arise when valuing goodwill because it is subjective.

Goodwill Impairments

Goodwill impairments refer to a highly technical accounting term that can impact the financial statements of publicly traded companies. 

Since goodwill has no physical existence, measuring and quantifying its true value is difficult

Companies must perform goodwill impairment tests annually or more frequently if certain events occur, such as a significant decline in the stock price.

Goodwill impairments occur when a company determines that the carrying value of goodwill on its balance sheet exceeds its fair market value. This means that the company has overpaid for the acquisition and will need to reduce the book value of goodwill on its financial statements. 

Goodwill impairments can result in significant charges against earnings, which can negatively impact a company’s stock price and investor sentiment towards the business.

Limitations Of Goodwill

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

Above, we have discussed that goodwill is a term used in accounting that refers to the intangible value of a business, such as brand reputation, customer loyalty, and employee morale. It can be important in evaluating a company’s overall worth during mergers and acquisitions. 

However, despite its usefulness, several limitations to goodwill should be considered.

Firstly, goodwill is highly subjective and difficult to quantify accurately. Unlike tangible assets such as property or equipment, which have clear market values, goodwill is based on opinions and perceptions that can vary significantly depending on who is doing the evaluation. This can lead to inconsistencies in accounting practices and make it challenging for investors to compare companies.

Secondly, goodwill has a limited lifespan. According to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), goodwill must be periodically reviewed for impairment or loss of value.


In conclusion, goodwill in accounting is an intangible asset that can be valuable to a business. It measures the value of a company beyond its tangible assets, such as property and equipment, and is often regarded as a measure of reputation and brand recognition

Goodwill should be carefully monitored since it can quickly become impaired with market or economic changes. Companies must perform annual impairment tests to determine whether goodwill has been impaired.


Is there a theoretical maximum value for goodwill in the market?

Theoretically, there is no minimum or maximum amount for goodwill, as it depends on the agreements and willingness of the buyer and seller of a company.

In reality, goodwill is not an asset and can’t be sold. It’s also different from share value because it is not liquid. The goodwill of a company may increase or decrease depending on external factors such as its competitive position and industry trends.

Is goodwill included in the income statement?

Goodwill is not included in the income statement because it cannot be measured precisely. However, goodwill can be included in other financial statements like balance sheets and cash flow statements because it can be easily calculated from those statements.

What is a common mistake made with goodwill in accounting?

One common mistake made with goodwill in accounting is failing to assess the fair value of the intangible asset properly. Goodwill is an intangible asset created when one company acquires another for a price higher than the net value of its assets and liabilities. If this assessment is not done accurately, it can lead to overvaluing or undervaluing the asset on the company’s balance sheet.

Another common mistake is not monitoring goodwill for impairment. If a company fails to do this, it may carry an asset on its books that no longer has any value. This could lead to inaccurate financial statements and potential legal issues.